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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking during a national address on Sunday, June 30, 2024 during the impending passage of Hurricane Beryl.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking during a national address on Sunday, June 30, 2024 during the impending passage of Hurricane Beryl.
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Hurricane Beryl “will blow off a lot of roofs” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Sunday morning as he urged the country to take the impending storm seriously.

Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibility for disaster management, said in a national address that he had arranged to move into the downstairs of the Official Residence of the Prime Minister, at Old Montrose.

He said he was concerned that parts of the roof might not survive the hurricane.

The government has ordered that the police enforce a shelter-in-place, effective 7 p.m.

“…I want everybody in St. Vincent and Grenadines to take this matter very seriously,” Gonsalves said and reminded residents of the impact of recent hurricanes in the region.  

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“There are some persons who are hoping for the best and we must all do that. But we all have to prepare for the worst,” he said.

“This is a major hurricane. This is not a joke. We see what major hurricanes have done nearby to Grenada, with Hurricane Ivan, and what has happened to Dominica in 2017, with Hurricane Maria…”

He said that while both of those were Category 5 hurricanes, the point he wanted to emphasise was that Beryl was intensifying.

“It is very warm on the seas and the warm temperatures are facilitating, engendering an intensification of this major hurricane.”

The prime minister said residents of the country have to be concerned first about their lives, then limbs and properties.

“And naturally, everybody who is listening to me will know that is the most important order. You have to be concerned about your life and limb and you have to be concerned about your property.”

He said that as of 7 p.m., no one would be permitted on the roads.

“There are instructions to the police to enforce this. You have to take care of yourself. You have to look out for your neighbours and your friends and your families…

“This hurricane will blow off a lot of roofs. … This hurricane will damage a lot of buildings, a lot of equipment. So, we have to do our best to secure them.”

He said that he is taking the storm so seriously that he has moved the downstairs of his official residence for fear that the older parts of the roof will not survive winds of 115 mph.

“I am making preparations to go downstairs. I want you to hear me. I’ve been speaking to persons who have called me and those who have made it my business to call to urge them to be super careful, super cautious,” Gonsalves said.

Beryl has strengthened to a category 3 hurricane and is expected to lash SVG with winds of between 115 and 130 miles per hour between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Monday.

“This is a major hurricane,” Gonsalves said.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.6 degrees north, longitude 53.9 degrees west, or approximately 523 miles east southeast of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The maximum sustained winds were 115 miles per hour with higher gusts and the storm was moving at 21 miles per hour.

“Those are the meteorological details and it is expected to hit our blessed country sometime in the morning tomorrow, Monday, the first, between eight and 10 o’clock,” Gonsalves said.

He noted that while these were estimates, they are based on science, adding, “You can then have variations as circumstances may change.

“But the trajectory which I reported yesterday morning of this major hurricane continues.”

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